Skip to main content
Select Source:

FIGURE OF SPEECH

FIGURE OF SPEECH, also figure. In RHETORIC, a device that achieves a special effect by using words in distinctive ways, such as ALLITERATION, in which the same sound, especially an initial consonant, is repeated, as with /f/ in life's fitful fever, and HYPERBOLE, in which one engages, usually deliberately, in unrealistic exaggeration, as in the informal phrase tons of money (‘a great deal of money’). Here, a word usually associated with weights and measures has been moved out of context to refer to money, with which it is not normally associated. See FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"FIGURE OF SPEECH." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"FIGURE OF SPEECH." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/figure-speech

"FIGURE OF SPEECH." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/figure-speech

figure of speech

figure of speech, intentional departure from straight-forward, literal use of language for the purpose of clarity, emphasis, or freshness of expression. See separate articles on antithesis; apostrophe; conceit; hyperbole; irony; litotes; metaphor; metonymy; paradox; personification; simile; and synecdoche.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"figure of speech." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"figure of speech." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/figure-speech

"figure of speech." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/figure-speech